When most people think of fast fashion, they probably picture a company like Shein or Forever21. But what exactly is fast fashion? And when did it first emerge as a term? I tracked the evolution of what is called fast fashion by examining different sources in which the term has been mentioned. Many have accepted that the New York Times coined the term in 1989, but I discovered even earlier mentions, suggesting the importance of fact-checking widely accepted attributions. In total, I gathered 75 definitions of fast fashion and combined them into a composite definition: fast fashion is when designers copy other brands, and the clothing itself is made quickly, cheaply and tailored to consumer needs, which then allows consumers to buy and throw their clothing out, impacting the environment. By analyzing many definitions of fast fashion, we come to a deeper understanding of what we are talking about when we are talking about fast fashion.
Laster, Morgan, "What is Fast Fashion?" (2022). Sociology Summer Fellows. 6.
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